Thursday, February 2, 2017

New Orleans' Beautiful Esplanade Avenue

Esplande Avenue boasts a distinctive collection of New Orleans architecture.  No two homes are alike, and each one is absolutely beautiful!
To stroll down this street is pure pleasure!  Each house is a jewel, with attention paid to the pillars, the wrought iron, the wood moldings and the balconies.  Built in the 1800's, they have been lovingly restored and maintained by their proud owners.
Esplanade is a long boulevard which runs from the edges of the French Quarter out to Degas House, and beyond to City Park.  It's a beautiful walking tour for lovers of architecture.
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Monday, February 29, 2016

The Quiet Side of the French Quarter

Those of us who love New Orleans are familiar with the popular sections of the French Quarter. Bourbon street is renowned for its dazzling neon, and raucous music.  Jackson Square is alive with mule drawn carriages, artists displaying their works, and the beat of local brass bands.  However, there are the quiet, almost unbelievably quiet, residential streets, such as Burgundy Street (above).  The facades of these old houses are plain and not really inviting; but behind these shuttered doors, these homes are warm and filled with light that streams in from courtyards filled with trees and flowers.  When you leave the street and enter, it is definitely a world apart!
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Sunday, September 27, 2015

New Orleans' Royal Street

To me, the most beautiful street in the French Quarter is Royal Street.  The variety of architecture is amazing!  From the mellowed brick 200 year old town homes to the early Victorian wooden frame buildings, each one is a delight.  And, the balconies with their flowering vines are just icing on the cake! 
The shops that occupy these buildings are also a feast for the eye.  Antique shops glitter with twinkling crystal chandeliers, and dress shops entice us to enter.  (Oh, the dollars spent here!) 
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Friday, June 12, 2015

New Orleans' Jive

One of my favorite streets in the French Quarter is St. Peter Street.  This street is a jumble of all the old and fascinating architectural styles which are unique to New Orleans:  The three story townhouses, the quirky servants’ quarters with their oddly pointed roofs, and the Creole Cottages with their massive old shuttered doors.  There are also plenty of wrought iron balconies, arched carriage ways, and high connecting wooden fences with doors in them, leading where?   All are jammed up against each other.  So much going on, so compressed; and behind this facade, is a labyrinth of connected passageways, beautiful courtyards and huge glass French doors. 
And St. Peter Street jumps with activity, night or day, with every conceivable type of business:  The famed Pat O’Brien’s, the Jazz Preservation Hall, Reverend Zombie’s Voodoo Shop, The Gumbo Shop restaurant, the Krazy Korner music club, a Lucky Dog cart, and on and on…… This street rocks and jives with laughter, lights and music, and is not one to. be missed.
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Monday, June 8, 2015

The Hours on Jackson Square - Original Oil Painting

I first fell in love with Jackson Square on an incredibly 100 degree plus day in June.  As my husband and I walked into the Square, I was amazed to see that there were throngs of tourists; and there were families… all smiling, laughing and seemingly oblivious to the heat! 

 This was their family vacation, and Jackson Square was at the hub of it all.  A local brass band in front of the St. Louis Cathedral boomed out tunes with a beat that no one could ignore.  (You gotta love what these local musicians can do with a tuba!)  A street performer, covered with metallic spray paint, enthralled the kids as he “transformed” from a construction worker into a race car.  And Art was everywhere!  Hundreds of paintings were hung from the Square’s magnificent iron fence. And the artists, just as colorful as the artwork, were all on hand to engage in conversation.

Carriages drawn by very good looking mules (in my estimation) were doing a brisk business, hauling everyone through the French Quarter; their drivers giving the unbelievably exciting history of New Orleans.   There is always something new to learn on these tours, because the history of this city is so dense and so rich.  Tales of pirates, yellow fever, ghosts, and military battles will leave one breathless.  The beginnings of New Orleans were not easy!

It was at this moment that I realized I was in the living, breathing heart of the French Quarter.  The beautiful architecture (built over the centuries by the French, Spanish, and even an enterprising 19th Century woman) is still in use as shops, museums and restaurants.  These buildings surround the square in a warm and intimate way, gently blurring the line between the past and the present, gently weaving that old New Orleans’ spell that makes us want to return again and again.
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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Desire Streetcar - Original Oil Painting

The old "Desire Streetcar " line in New Orleans became immortalized when the playwright Tennessee Williams published his steamy play,"A Streetcar Named Desire," in 1947.  The line ran in the 1920's through the 40's.  It originated in the neighborhood of Bywater and ran through the Marigny neighborhood and the French Quarter towards Canal Street. 

There is a plan to bring this streetcar back to the French Quarter, which seems like the perfect New Orleans' answer to "Life Imitating Art."

I used a very old black & white photograph of the Desire Streetcar running down Bourbon Street as an inspiration for this painting.  (Most people remember that it ran down Royal Street, but it also ran down parts of Bourbon Street too.)

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Friday, April 11, 2014

"Rain on St. Peter Street"

On our last trip, in early March, I experienced the true magic of New Orleans. We were out very early in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras Day. It was maybe 60 degrees and, Oh It Was Raining!  But after a few minutes, we didn't even notice.  Everyone was out, tourists and locals all calling out "Happy Mardi Gras!".  And all the greetings were truly warm, in the spirit of friendship; and it was too early in the day to be that kind of "spirits."  It was a day I will carry in my heart always.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"Frenchmen Street" - Original Oil Painting

We fist discovered Frenchmen Street in February of 2006 (the Winter after Hurricane Katrina).  At that unfortunate time, the French Quarter was still pretty deserted, and someone told us to take a short walk into the neighborhood of Marigny if we wanted to hear some good local music.
Our spirits were uplifted the minuted we arrived at the small three block business district!  The street was a little dark; but lights, music and laughter spilled out onto the sidewalk from crowded small clubs.  That night we became fans of Cafe Negril, Snug Harbor, The Spotted Cat, and DBA, where the music ranged from jazz, to reggae to funk.
Since that time, Frenchmen street is the place we go to the most, and now we're acquainted with Adolfo's Italian Creole restaurant (above the Apple Barrel) and the atmospheric Frenchmen Hotel with its cozy, lush courtyard and balcony views.  And, we've added new music clubs like the Blue Nile, and Maison to our list of favorites.  We go back time after time to see our favorite musicians, KermitRuffins and the TBC Brass Band.  I still can't get over the fact that you can hear some of the country's best music in such small intimate clubs! 
Frenchmen Street is a real everyday street with a grocery, a book store, a fire station, a record store, and a coffee shop, but it's also a concentrated spot of local culture will soon hit its prime.  I just hope it doesn't lose its friendly neighborhood feeling where visitors can go and experience the real New Orleans.
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Old Absinthe House - New Orleans

    The story of this old bar on a Bourbon Street corner is synonymous with the rich, colorful, and sometimes notorious history of the French Quarter.  One can almost feel its shady past oozing out from the rough stucco walls. 
     Starting out as an import house in 1806, it is purported to have been the location where the pirate Jean La Fitte and General Andrew Jackson hatched their plans for the 1812 Battle of New Orleans.  Later in 1815, it became a rough a tumble saloon called Aleix's Coffee House."  Then in 1874 it was the site of the invention of the strong liqueur, Absinthe.  The reputation of this drink was so infamous that it was outlawed in the United States as a drink that could lead to insanity and the ruination of all who drank it.
     Today, after careful renovation, much remains original, and it's a great step back in time to enter, look up at the old beams and sit by the the ancient fireplace with your favorite drink in hand, and drift back through time.   
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Endymion Float - Mardi Gras Painting

     A couple of weeks ago my husband and I experienced Mardi Gras family style, in the New Orleans' neighborhood of Uptown.  This was not the raucous reveling on Bourbon Street, this was the tree-line residential streets lined with mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, aunts and uncles, all there to enjoy the beautiful floats, the jazzy marching bands and to take part in tradition.
     I must admit that I am not usually a fan of parades, but the floats were absolutely breathtaking!  They were illumined against a twilight sky by hundreds of lights and by kerosene torch bearers called the "flambeaux," a custom that goes back to the very beginnings of Mardi Gras.  Everyone in the crowd was there to see a child in a band or a relative on a float, and to catch trinkets and beads which flew through the air.....all very small town in feeling, all very friendly.  Total strangers gave me theirs fanciest beads because I was not very good at catching them myself. 
     It doesn't matter that many of the stories behind all the complicated and somewhat baffling traditions may have been forgotten, what matters is that this is a time when everyone joins together in a spirit of community.
     This painting, "Endymion," was commissioned last year by Scott Colomb, a member of the (Krewe of Endymion) who taught me more about about the culture of New Orleans.
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dream of New Orleans - Oil Painting

For some of us, we dream of New Orleans, when we are not there.  What is it about New Orleans which captures the hearts and imaginations of so many?  It is a city where we can walk among the ghosts of those earliest settlers who carved a unique culture out of an often treacherous swamp.  It is a place where despite the hardships of epidemics, fires, and floods, its people have endured and triumphed down through the centuries.  It is a modern urban center; but it is also a mystical, ethereal dream carried on a breeze, drifting out over the evening, casting a spell over those who are willing to believe.
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Friday, July 13, 2012

New Orleans' Uptown Neighborhood

     New Orleans has many neighborhoods, Garden District, French Quarter, Marigny; but one of the most welcoming and inviting is "Uptown."  Here a diverse collection of architectural styles abound.  They are home to those New Orleans inhabitants who lovingly care for their late Victorian charmers.  Every pillar, bow window, and wrought iron railing is preserved.  Many sustained extensive damage during Katrina, but the owners worked hard and brought them back to their original Southern grace.

     These are homes to families, not the super rich who drop by occasionally.  If to spend a couple of delightful hours, take a stroll through this neighborhood some late Sunday afternoon.  You will be thoroughly entertained!

    This painting, "Uptown Tonight" was commissioned by the Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Richmond Virginia.

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     To purchase a print of this painting click on the image above.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sunrise in the French Quarter

It's been about a month since our last trip to New Orleans, but I can still remember how beautiful the early morning is in the French Quarter.  I was standing on the balcony of our hotel on Chartres Street looking towards Esplanade Avenue, and the sun was just coming up.  All of a sudden the buildings at the end of the street took on an incredible glow.  There were soft pinks and yellows and wonderful shades of purples and lavenders.  It only lasted for a few minutes, but I grabbed my camera and got a few shots.  As soon as we got back to Illinois, I got out my paints and tried to get the scene down on canvas.  
I love all the excitement and glitter of New Orleans, but this quiet and tranquil scene of the old Vieux Carre' is one that I will always remember.  This fleeting moment in time was another facet of this complicated and truly alive city called New Orleans. 
This large original oil painting was recently sold at Kako Gallery on Royal Street in the French Quarter.
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Monday, March 5, 2012

City Park in New Orleans - Original Painting

The Live Oaks in New Orleans' City Park are a sight to behold!  Their large twisted branches, covered with Spanish Moss, spread out over the old Metairie Bayou, offering a deep and tranquil shade.  Many of these ancient oaks are over 600 years old.  They are called "live" because their branches are never bare; dropping leaves are replaced by new leaves almost at the same time.  To walk among these ancient giants is an awe inspiring experience!  To learn more about City Park visit:
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Monday, February 27, 2012

The Blue Nile - New Orleans

To spend time at the "Blue Nile" club on Frenchmen Street is to experience real New Orleans music!  Local musicians (who also enjoy worldwide fame) deliver the best in jazz, funk, blues, R&B and more.  In true New Orleans fashion, it is an interactive experience.  The crowd and the band party together in an intimate space which is loaded with atmosphere. 

A friend mentioned that the building was built in 1832, and the inside has the appearance of a 1930's jazz club with masonary arches and a delicate hand-painted border of marine life around the ceiling.   All this is left untouched; but more recently an artist has added a huge expressive mural which covers one whole wall.  It is these layers, built up over time, which make this place so interesting.

I painted this painting last summer after our Spring trip to New Orleans.  It was recently sold at the Kako Gallery in New Orleans, and is currently displayed on the Blue Nile's website.   While it is not a portrait of Sam Williams of "Big Sam's Funky Nation," who often appears at the Blue Nile; he was the inspiration for the trombone player.

A print of this painting is available at:

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